I loved it when I bought it last October, and I love it even more five months later. The Amazon Kindle Fire 7″ HD is fun, a complete entertainment center in a convenient, purse-sized package. It’s almost too much fun. I intend to read, but end up watching a movie. I get distracted by the plethora of choices.
If you understand its purpose and limitations and it suits your needs, it’s the best deal you can get.
It’s a fine reader. You may need to adjust the brightness to suit your comfort level, but that’s easily done. Adjusting the size of the text is a mere finger pinch. In bright sunlight, it isn’t as good as my 2nd gen Kindle, but I rarely read outside. I do, however, read in bed and the built in backlighting is very convenient.
The sound is remarkable. It’s hard to believe you can get that much good sound from such tiny speakers. The quality of the video is also rather amazing. Much better than I dared hope. I actually watch movies and TV shows on my 7″ Fire HD — something I was sure I would never do. As an Amazon Prime member, there are a great many movies and television shows available for free; it will be a long time (if ever) before I need to buy anything. I have a huge library of books for the Kindle and all the books in my Audible account are automatically available on my Kindle too. I’ve gotten great “box sets” of Beethoven, Mozart, Debussy at amazingly reasonable prices. Any music CDs I’ve bought since I got the Kindle appear automatically under the music menu.
The new Kindle HD links to the older of my 2 Audible accounts. They cannot yet link an Audible account that isn’t under the same email address as your Amazon account nor can you link multiple Audible accounts. If you have multiple Audible accounts under one email address that is the same as that used by your Amazon account, they can consolidate libraries, but they will become one single account. If you have more than one Audible account under separate email addresses, you can only link one. I gave up and closed my second account.
If you are having problems with your Audible library, you will need to call Audible. They have always had excellent tech support, even before Amazon acquired them.
The Kindle is great for listening to audiobooks, in my opinion better than any MP3 player because I hate earphones. The Kindle is small enough to carry in a purse and not heavy. You can use it with earphones.
The available memory is only 16GB. It’s plenty unless you want to download movies. Streaming them uses no memory, so there’s no problem. Regular “print” books are small; you can carry a whole library with you if you want. Music and audiobooks take up a lot more memory, but you can stream music. You can’t stream audiobooks yet, but I think you will be able to soon. They’re working on it. Nor is there any way to expand the memory. The Kindle has no slot for an SD chip nor has it a port for a flash drive. Why not?
Wouldn’t it have been simple enough to include slots for one or both? Therefore, you cannot expand beyond the device’s embedded memory. Period. Buying the 32 GB version doubles the amount of resident memory, but there’s still no option to expand beyond that preset limit. I hope future generations of the Kindle Fire will include ports and slots for either flash drives and/or memory cards.
You can work around the limits, but if you fail to recognize the limits of the device you will be very frustrated by it. It is what it is and that’s a lot. It’s just not everything.
Audiobooks can be very large. You can keep a few on the Kindle, but probably not all 57 hours of ”Lord of the Rings.” Listen to a book, then delete it and download the next one. Unlike when you download from Audible to your computer, you cannot download a multi part book in sections. It’s all or nothing. A book that is in your Audible library in multiple parts will download in a single section to the Kindle. If the book you want to load is LOTR or Winds of War, make sure you have enough room. I have not successfully downloaded anything that long. Huge books play, but never finish downloading, in effect streaming which, in theory, you can’t do. No, I don’t understand it.
You can store everything you aren’t actively listening to, watching, or reading on Amazon’s cloud servers. Thus when you delete a book you don’t lose it. You just move it off the device. You can retrieve it whenever you like. All is well if you have WiFi. It’s only an issue when you lack a WiFi connection. Serious road warriors should probably spend the money and get a version with 3G. Kindles with 3G automatically switch to it when there’s no WiFi.
You can do most things you would want to do on any tablet on the Kindle. You won’t be editing pictures or writing your novel, but I don’t think you’d be doing that on any tablet. Or at least, I wouldn’t. For those things, I want a lot more RAM, a real hard drive, the right application and most important, a full-sized keyboard.
The manual — such as it is — is poorly written and incomplete. Effectively useless. Amazon has very good customer service, real people who really know the device and will stay on the phone with you until your battery runs out … but who wants to have to call customer service to figure out how to delete a book or movie? Or for that matter, turn the unit on? It’s stupidly simple, but even if you actually find the manual (I had to call customer service for that, too), you won’t find a listing for “delete,” “remove”, “turn on,” etc. Amazon, hire a competent technical writer. We work cheap. Give a job to someone who needs one!
I bought the $199 version that has advertising. I’m not finding it intrusive. You can get rid of the adverts even after you’ve bought it for an extra $15 if they annoy you, but they show up only as offers on the splash screen. Otherwise, all the ads are under the Offers menu, so you won’t see them unless you are actually interested and go looking for them.
Thumbs up for overall quality, sound, video, and speed. It’s a good-looking compact device. Accessories are affordable. Definitely get the Quick Charger ($9.99); you will be very glad you did. I also bought some inexpensive styli and use them occasionally. They’ve turned out to be useful for my iPhone. The touch screen is sometimes too sensitive. Usually it’s easier to use your fingers than a stylus, but the stylus does come in handy. A cheap stylus will work just as well as an expensive one. I have both and I can’t see any difference between them.
Fingerprints are not a problem. I buy lens wipes at the drug store. They clean the Kindle, my camera lens, my computer and my eyeglasses. Don’t bother with a protective screen; it’s a waste of money.
Do get a cover. Not only does it provide basic protection, but it also keeps dust and dirt out and makes it possible to prop your Kindle up like an easel. Then you can watch or listen hands free. Many covers also turn the Kindle on and off when you open or close it. Since the on/off button is a bit hard to find by feel, a case that does it for you is a plus.
The Kindle Fire HD does a lot more stuff than you expect. I’ve had it for more than 6 months and I’m still discovering useful fun functions. I’ve discovered I can listen to music while reading or playing Scrabble. I can listen to an audiobook while checking email or doing something else online. I’m finally starting to coördinate audiobooks and Kindle books, so I can listen and read at the same time. Kind of cool: as the narrator reads, the books come alive and the text highlights with the narration. Neat.
The Kindle wakes up instantly. Effectively, there is no boot time at all.
It’s not perfect, but it’s still the best deal in town!